Saturday, February 28, 2009

Katha Upanishad Shankara bhashya; Chapter 1, Valli 3: Mantra 10







Mantra 10
AS gives a introduction
“Adhunam yatpadam gantavyam tasya indriyani sthulanyarabhya sukshma...prtyagatmataya adhigamya kartavya iti evam…aarabhyate”
IN the prior mantras the destination has been presented as aksharam in mantra 2, and in the 9th mantra it has been defined as Vishnopadam. Now the definition or identity of this aksharam or Visnupadam as Brahman is going to be revealed. Here Up. uses a method which is very similar to the panchakosha viveka of Taittriya Upanishad. Why? Brahman is sukshmatamam vastu – is extremely subtle – we currently have a mind which is used to gross experiences such as the gross world – and such a mind has hence to be acclimatized gradually to enable it to understand the extremely subtle. It is similar to acclimatization while mountain climbing!...Sudden and radical change – no instrument can take! An intellect used to the gross world cannot grasp the subtlest thing….each kosha in this prakriya is a intellectual acclimatization stage! We are gradually taken from one kosha to another which is subtler. This methodology of gradual step by step revelation is given two names – shakha Chandra nyaya – revealing the subtle moon on the 3rd day of the waxing cycle…you cannot see easily – so help is taken of a solid tree and on that a branch which is thinner and on that two twigs which are even thinner and then in between the two twigs you are told to see the moon….and the second name is arundhati darshana nyaya – on wedding day the couple is asked to see Arundhati star…we don’t directly show the star – first the moon then some other powerful planet or star and then a star close to the Arundhati…and then you are able to grasp the subtle Arundhati star. Hence AS says “now” (the jnana sadhanas is talked about). Yat padam gantavyam – that abode which has to be reached by the seeker tasya adhigamaha kartavya.. adhigamaha means jnAnam knowledge or understanding – this has to be accomplished. Here knowing itself is going to be reaching. Travel is not going to be external but internal. I am going to get closer and closer as I go from kosha to kosha. Anandamaya is the closest thing –from the anandamaya when it comes to atma – the Revelation is that brahmapadam is going to be atma which is myself – thus going and reaching are going to become synonymous. Therefore knowledge has to be accomplished. How? Starting from the gross sense organs. Indriyani aarabhya – starting from the gross sense organs..In Katha Up annamaya kosha (of T.Up) is skipped. Which are the indriyas? Sthoolani which are the grossest…sense organs are grosser compared to the later koshas such as manomaya, etc. sukshma dhaaratavya kramena travelling towards gradually subtler planes. (incl manaha buddhi hiranyagarbha avyakrta maya and therafter brahman – it is a long journey!) ultimately prthyagatmataya – vishnopadam has to be understood as the innermost self (ahameva vishnoh asmi)…adhigamaha kartavya after acclimatization. Anandamaya kosha is the subtlest entity at which point all we can experience is blankness – total silence – at the internal level. At the external level the subtlest we can experience is akasha. (Hence in Vedanta 2 types of meditation are prescribed – internally silence meditation and externally space meditation – practice of both will make the mind very refined. Once the mind has practiced both – the mind has to go atma which is subtler than both silence and space also!) How do you arrive at atma from silence? Many people say - “thereafter Swami I sleep”. From silence your travel is to the awarer of the silence - that “I” am which is never experienced but is ever the experiencer I. Externally also I am the witness of the space also. For this purpose we start the panchakosha vivekaa in a remodeled form.




Mantra 10

Indriyebhya paraa hyarthaa Arthebhyascha param manah
Manasastu paraa buddhi Buddher atmana mahaan parah

Gist:
Five stages are mentioned which are gradually going from grosser to subtler level.
Indriyebyah sense organs artha sense objects mana mind buddhi vyasthi or individual buddhi hiranyagarbhaha – mahaan atma in this mantra means samashti biddhi or hiranyagarbha

Bhashya:
The word arthaha means objects vishayaha. What exactly is meant by the term objects? Literally, according to Vedanta, we are not perceiving the substances of the world - when you are perceiving a substance - you are only perceiving the fivefold properties or gunas of the substances. So eyes do not see a wall but are only seeing the colours of the wall. The sense object is not the wall but the rupam of wall. Therefore arthaha are not substances but shabda sparsha rupa rasa gandha – the gunas.
Next step we think shabda sparsha rupa rasa gandha are the properties of the substances but again according to Vedanta these properties are nothing but expressions of the subtle sense organs - so shabda gunah is equated to shabda tanmatra which is sukshma aakasha which is expressing as shabda guna in sthoola akasha.
Shabda guna = sookshma aakaksha expressing in sthoola aakasha
Roopa guba = sooksham agni expressing in sthoola agni
Thus, pancha gunas are nothing but sooksha bhootani.

Arthaha are nothing but sookshma bhootani which are manifesting as pancha gunaha in sthoola bhutani. This is the 1st level of statement AS offers. AS argues further…. sense organs are products of sookshma bhootani. The arthaha are sookshma bhootani and hence kaaranam. Karanam must be subtler than karyam the sense organs.
Notice that when borrowing from this terminologu in the BG in 3rd chapter - Krishna quietly drops the word arthaha….! (to save Arjuna and us from having to understand all this!)– indriyani param aahuh indriyebhya param manah – mind being controller of sense organs this is easy to understand. Similarly intellect is superior to mind is also very easy to considered – the travel is easier but in Kathop because of the intermediary “arthaha” (after all Yama’s job is to give trouble)
Sthoolani tavat indriyani to begin with the sense organs are the grossest in the available list of koshas. Next tani yaihi arthaiyhi aarabdhani – those sense organs are created by the subtle elements (arthaiyhi = sukshmabhutaihi) – also called panchagunAs – for what purpose? Atmaprakashanaya – to reveal themselves. Sukshma Aakasha created shrotra indriya to reveal shadba gunA which is nothing but sukshma akasha! Shabda is sukshma aksasha manifest in sthula akasha. Similarly sukshma vayu created sparsha indriyam to reveal sparsha guna which is nothing but sukshma vayu manifest in sthula vayu. Tebhyah indriyabhyaha – compared to those sense organs svakaryebhyah which are the products te arthah those sukshma bhootas are paraa – are subtler. Five subtle elements are subtler than the five sense organs – because sense organs is karyam and subtle elements is karanam.
Pariah means lit. superior. What is the significance of the word superior? Three different ways or aspects – 1st sukshmat in subtlety – more intangible. 2nd mahantaha cha – in pervasion or its extent or magnitude. 3rd – prthyagatma bhuta cha – closer to the inner self – more interior or proximity to the Self.
So in terms of all three things it is superior – that is the meaning of the word pariah
With this the 1st qtr of the mantra is over. Now the 2nd qtr.
AS does not take manaha as the mind. Manaha means the subtle elements which are the producers or cause of the manah. Manah karana bhuta sukshma butani – manaha is manas shadba vachyam bhuta sukshmam – manasah arambhakam – the subtle elements which are the creators or cause of the mind
Arthaha is also translated as sukshma bhutani; Manaha is also translated as sukshma bhutani – what is the difference?
Prior sukshma bhutas are producers of sense organs; These sukshma bhutas are producers of mind. So this set of sukshma bhutas are more subtle then the prior set. (two subcommentaries occur at this juncture and are extremely elaborate – Anandagiri and Gopadayati tika – very elaborate hairsplitting! – we are not going into that here) sankalpa-vikalapaadi aarambhakatvat – these subtle elements are able to create a function of sankalpa and vikalpa – thinking of the pros and cons. Hence mind or subtle elements which produce the mind is over.
Now the 3rd qtr.of this mantra is taken up.
Here the journet is claiming the inner self and rejecting the outerself. Each one of the external koshas are gradually shed in the form of anatmatva nischayaha – also called karyatva nischaya. Once annamaya is seen as karyam every seen is namarupa and so karyatva nischaya is namarupatvanishchaya and that is mithyatvanischayaha – once you understand it as mithyA it is as good as nonexistent it called resolution or pramilapanam swallowing the entire antama into the atma. Just like dream gets swallowed by waking. All this takes place as we travel from indriya to arthaha to mana etc
Manas has sankalpa vikalpa property which sense organs can never have – it is more subtle. Sense organs will give news, mind will give views.
Manaso viparo…
Superior to the mind is (again AS reminds that superior or greatness para is again understood in terms of three factors subtlety, extant, and proximity to Atma)
Again buddhi should be taken as five subtle elements – just like manas and arthaha as before. Five subtle elements represented by arthaha manas and buddhi have a gradual gradation in terms of fineness. Buddhi = bhuta sukshmam and arambhakam – the creator of buddhi shadba vachyam the instrument known as buddhi. Budhi is adhyavasayaadi atmakam = of the nature of adhyavasaya which is = nischaya. IN 2nd ch BG it is called vyavasaya (atmika buddhi). Because buddhi is the decider and the mind throws up pros and cons buddhi (subtle elements constituting the) is subtler.
Continuing
Buddher atma sarva prani buddhinam prthyagatma …
Now the 4th qtr – compared to buddhi atma parah – atma here means samashti buddhi or Hiranyagarbhah(macrointellect) and this is superior to microintellect. Why is Hiranyagarbha called atma? Here atma does not refer to original Atma? Literally atma means apnoti that which pervaded everything. Hiranyagarbha is the inner essence of all the individual intellects..India pervaded all the states, fire pervades all the sparks, all the buddhis of all the pranis are pervaded by hiranyagarbha being the inner essence prthyagatma bhutatvat(careful again prthyagatma also doesn’t refer to prthyagatma) Buddheh atma parah we have to supply bhavati. Next sentence is sarvapraninam buddhinaam prthyagatma byutatvat hiranyagarbha atma uchyate – being the essence of all the (micro)intellects hiranyagarbha is known as atma in the mantra.
Mahan sarvamahatvat – the same hiranyagarbha is not only called Atma it is also called mahaan. Mahaan is also a title for HG. Why? Sarvamahatvaat being bigger than all the individual intellects. AS adds a note on HG – “avyaktat…”
HG tattvam - the principle called HG mahan atma iti uchyate is called Mahaan atma. Buddeh para – and is superior to the individual intellect. Avyaktat yat prathamam yatam – which is born 1st (prathamajah) from avyakta Maya or Mayasahita Ishwara. Jyeshtah and Shreshtah in Ch Up Ishwara is born out of whom? Ishwara is unborn. Maya is anadi Brahman is anadi Therefore Maya plus Brahman = Ishwara is also anadi. From that anadi Ishwara HG was born 1st. The rest of the creation Ishwara smartly deferred to HG and therafter shantakarama bhujaga shayanam! Also it is Bodha-abodhatmakam Knowledge-ignorance Bodha is jnana shakti and abodha means icha and kr shakti. Abodha here means other than jnanam. Anyarthe nor virodharthe. Samasthi manaomaya = ichashakti
Samashti vijananamaya = jnanashakti Samashti pranamaya = kriyashakti. All shaktis are infinite being samashti.
When we travel inwards from vyashti buddhi we travel to samashti buddhi.
Anvaya:Arthaha hi indriyebyah paraa (bhavati). Manaha cha arthebyah param (bhavati). Buddhi tu manasaha para (bhavati). Mahaan atma buddheh parah bhavati.

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